Pat Bertram is a native of Colorado. When the traditional publishers stopped publishing her favorite type of book — character and story driven novels that can’t easily be slotted into a genre — she decided to write her own. Second Wind Publishing liked her style and published four of Bertram’s books: ‘Light Bringer’, ‘Daughter Am I’, ‘More Deaths Than One’, and ‘A Spark of Heavenly Fire.’
When twenty-five-year-old Mary Stuart learns she inherited a farm from her recently murdered grandparents — grandparents her father claimed had died before she was born — she becomes obsessed with finding out who they were and why someone wanted them dead. Along the way she accumulates a crew of feisty octogenarians-former gangsters and friends of her grandfather. She meets and falls in love Tim Olson, whose grandfather shared a deadly secret with her great-grandfather. Now Mary and Tim need to stay one step ahead of the killer who is desperate to dig up that secret.
How long did it take you to write it?
I developed the idea for Daughter Am I in a single day, but I had to finish the book I was working on at the time, so I didn’t actually begin writing Daughter Am I until several months after I got the initial idea. It took me a year to write, and then another year to edit.
Who’s your favorite character in it?
That is a hard question! All the octogenarian gangsters in Daughter Am I are my favorites in their own way. There’s Teach, who sells bullets he claims came from the shoot-out at the O.K. Corral. There’s Kid Rags, who still works as a forger. There’s Happy, a trigger-happy ex-wheelman for the mob, whose hands shake so much he can barely aim let alone shoot. That’s only three of the octogenarians — there are seven feisty old gangsters all together. Well, six gangsters and one ex-showgirl.
What projects are you currently working on?
I’m currently collaborating on writing a novel online with eight other Second Wind authors. We each write from the POV of a different character, and follow that character throughout the story. In the first story, a little girl’s body was found in the desert, but who killed her? We won’t know until the book is finished! You can find this project at http://rubiconranch.wordpress.com I hope you will check it out!
What is something that surprised you about being an author?
The most surprising part for me is that I know how to write. For many years, my life was shadowed by the sadness of having no innate talent for writing. I’m not being modest — I really couldn’t write anything worth reading. When I decided to write despite that lack, I set out to learn everything I could about developing a readable story. Most of the how-to books confused the heck out of me — the authors would talk about rising conflicts and motivation/reaction units, and I didn’t have a clue what they meant. It’s only recently that I realized I actually know what I’m doing.
What one word describes how you feel when you write?
Who designed this cover?
I did! I took the photo while I was out walking one day, and then tweaked the color. I’m pleased with the result.
Which do you use most for writing on, laptop or desktop?
Okay, I admit it: I am a closet pencilphile. Seems silly, I know, in this electronic age, but I write in pencil on loose-leaf paper. There. I’ve outed myself. I feel so much better now.
I am not being contrary. I do have reasons. I have a better mind/writing connection using pencil and paper than I have with a keyboard; a mechanical pencil is easier on my fingers than pen, and paper is easier on my eyes than a computer screen. But I do use a lap top for blog posts and interviews and such.
Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
For me, fiction writing is largely a matter of thinking, of trying to see the situation, of figuring out the right word or phrase that puts me where I need to be so the words can flow. I can do this better late at night, in bed, clipboard propped against my knees or on a pillow than sitting at a desk. If, as Mel Gibson said, “A movie is like public dreaming,” then novels are like shared dreaming, and where better to dream than in a comfortable bed?
Your favorite quote:
“Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.” — Goethe
If you were to attend a St. Patrick’s Day Party, which one thing would you never leave behind and why?
I’d take the Luck O’ the Irish. With a bit of luck, I could get whatever I wanted, including gold. And anyway, luck weighs a heck of a lot less than a pot of gold and is easier to carry with you.
Where can your readers stalk you?